“Why am I here? What is my reason for being on this earth?” I remember these questions often being seen as the big mysteries of life when I was growing up, yet as I’ve gotten older they seem to have faded from the consciousness of society. The question is no longer asked “why am I here?” as much as “what can I get from being here?”. Often attempts to take things to a deeper level such as seeking purpose are rejected because life is about “living in the moment”. The trouble is that people are so busy living in the moment that the single moments are not given any opportunity to grow into something greater. There is nothing wrong with living in the moment to a point, we need to be present in the moments to enjoy life, but life cannot just be a series of individual moments with no direction. One analogy for it is to think of someone building a house. Each brick they lay is like a moment, they need to be present enough to make sure the brick is laid straight and well, but if all they ever do is focus on each individual brick and what they feel like doing with that brick, with no attention to the house as a whole, then the house will most likely turn out a mess with no structure. Instead what they do is lay each brick individually with a vision to the final result. Living in the moment and living for the long term aren’t mutually exclusive, they are two sides of the same coin, and when we are living in balance the glue that binds them is purpose. Let’s take a look at why purpose is so important:
Purpose gives us direction. Purpose is what gives us the overall vision of what we are trying to achieve. Just like a plan shows a builder how important each brick is to the final house, our purpose is what gives us an understanding of how the small steps lead to the end goal. In the same way the builder checks the plan to help make decisions as he builds, when we are living with we can test any decisions against our purpose to see whether they help or hinder it.
Purpose links us to something bigger than ourselves. Our purpose is not about us, nor is it something we can achieve on our own. In the same way the builder will need to call in others to help him to achieve his goal of building the house, we need to be willing to work with other people to achieve our purpose. Also just like a builder builds each house with the intention for it to be standing long after he has moved on, our purpose should be to build something with our lives that will live on into future generations.
Purpose gives us strength to push through challenges. When a builder faces a rainy day, or a delay in deliveries, or a tradesman who doesn’t live up to expectations, they don’t give up on the house. They either just get on with the task at hand, or if need be take a step back, re-evaluate, adjust, and then get back to work. Likewise, life will always throw challenges at us. Just because we are living with purpose doesn’t mean everything will go to plan, but when we are committed to our purpose and remain focussed on it we have the determination to push through the challenges and keep going.
Alongside all these principles is the idea that our purpose is not restricted or defined by any role we may have in our lives. Our purpose is not simply our job or any of the other roles we may have such as parent, child, sibling, carer etc. As important and valuable as these roles are, our purpose is bigger. And while we may be able to live out our purpose within these roles, when these roles change our purpose remains. This means that once we have found our purpose we don’t need to fear the change that comes from moving through the seasons of life, because we know whatever season we are in it is moving towards fulfilling our purpose.
So where to from here? Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. We believe this means that each and every person is created with a unique set of skills, attributes and circumstances to live out the unique purpose they have been designed for. Hebrews 12:1 doesn’t specify that it is only for certain people, it is a call for everyone. There are no extras or space fillers in life, everyone has a purpose and a reason for being. Over the next few weeks we’re going to take a bit more of a look at finding and living out your purpose. We’d love it if you’d join us on this journey and hopefully be encouraged to discover and your purpose and live it out in your life.